the 15 apa women leader spotlights: mari rose taruc

15 Days. 15 APA Women. 15th Anniversary. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, we're partnering up with NAPAWF and Hyphen to spotlight 15 Women Warriors for 15 days, sponsored by 15 hosts. Meet today's spotlight:

Mari Rose Taruc
Nominated by Ellen Choy.

Describe your name.
Mari Rose. My Filipina grandmothers sprinkled me with a bit of goodness from the Virgin Mary and aesthetic from a flower. Taruc is Tagalog for “to know”.

How do you identify?
Gemini. Immigrant-Oaklandish. Filipina-vegetarian. Artist-scientist. Multitasker-Zen. Working class & blessed. Fierce fighter and state organizing director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.

Your passion issues?
My blood boils at the pollution that give my kids asthma attacks & robs their future with climate change.

Best advice someone has ever given you?
I believe in you.

Who's your hero?
Lola Melang, my mama’s mama who raised 9 children on her own, managed to sew beautiful 60s dresses for my aunties, grow her tropical flower & vegetable garden, and defend me from angry parents.

Biggest lesson you've learned as an APA Woman?
To grow my community stripes, sharpen my political fangs & pounce on the big bad world that needs fixing.

What advice would you give to other Asian Pacific American women?
Take the best our mothers gave us and fly.

Why support NAPAWF?
To raise the fierce leadership of APA sisters around the country.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Decadent chocolate desserts worth more than my kids’ meal.

Ellen says:
Mari Rose Taruc is a fierce Chinese, Filipina long-time community leader. She has worked for over 15 years in the environmental justice movement – bringing the voices and issues of APA communities across the US and internationally to the forefront of the fight for healthier environments. She has travelled internationally to UN climate negotiations and been a key leader in national and state wide alliances, while staying deeply rooted in communities on-the-ground in the Bay Area. Mari Rose helped to launch the first APA state-wide coalition on climate change – bridging communities and sectors in California to be a strong APA force on state policies. As a mentor of many young social justice activists, including myself, Mari Rose has also invested time, energy and a lot of love into building leaders of the future.

About Ellen Choy:
“Originally from the LA area now living in Oakland, I am a young, Chinese/Korean, environmental justice organizer. I have been working in the past 4 years to uplift the leadership of low-income communities of color in the fight to address climate change and build sustainable alternatives. To do so, I’ve helped build national coalitions, including Youth for Climate Justice, as well as worked at various youth development organizations. Most currently, I have become a staff member at Movement Generation – an organization built to support grassroots organizations to engage and win the fight for ecological justice. I’m also an active member of HOBAK (Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans), and a passionate community DJ.”

Donate in honor of Mari Rose and Ellen:
Support Mari Rose and Ellen by donating to NAPAWF today!

To see the rest of the 15 APA Women Leader Spotlights, go here.

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